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A Very Crowded Room

writing image 2It’s crowded room time again, and my room that is 2013 is unusually crowded, surprisingly crowded, in fact. I’m sure I’m not alone in my fascination with the last week of the year. It’s completely different from the rest of the year. It feels more like there are actually just fifty-one weeks in the year, then there is a week that’s really the crowded room at the end, a place not unlike my grandmother’s living room was, jam-packed with the bits and pieces and memorabilia of eighty-three years of living.

The last week of the year is a mental version of that living room, a room that we all have in our head. No matter how expansive the previous fifty-one weeks have been, this final week is the tiny space into which we crowd everything that has happened in the year. Then we mentally pour ourselves a glass of our favourite, settle in to the one comfy chair that’s not avalanching with memories and emotions, and we reflect.

Every item in my grandmother’s living room had a story — a gift from someone, a souvenir from some marked event in her life, something someone had made for her or she had made for herself. My grandmother’s living room was a book full of stories I only ever experienced through her eyes, stories that were lost in the mist to anyone but her.

This time of year, in this last week, we all sit in our mental story book living rooms and tell ourselves one last time the stories that have been our life for the past fifty-one weeks. We laugh at our joys, we mourn our losses and we nod our heads in satisfaction at our successes, promising they’ll be even bigger next year.

There was a finality about her over-crowded living room. It spoke of endings, of past events, of P1000885treasured moments. That last week of the year room we all occupy right now has its own finality. After midnight tonight, we can crowd no more into that room. We leave it as it is, papers strewn, boxes open, bed unmade, cup of tea half finished. Mind you, some of us spend our last hours in that room frantically trying to crowd just a little more into it. That’s me, sitting in the recliner madly tapping away at the computer trying to get another chapter written, another short story out before I have to leave this room and lock the door behind me.

It doesn’t matter though, if we’re sitting reflecting on all that fills this room, or if we’re frantically trying to fill it fuller, at midnight tonight, we’ll all take a deep breath, open the door and walk out into the empty room waiting for us that is 2014. All we’ll take with us is our memories of the room we left and our hopes for how we’ll fill this bright new room that stretches promisingly before us. Some of us make New Years resolutions, some of us just plow in without a plan of action, but one thing is for certain, this time next year, if we live that long, we’ll be sitting in the full room again reflecting on how the experiences of 2014 have shaped us, anticipating how we will take the experiences into the next empty room. With that in mind, here is a very brief tour of my 2013 Room.

Empty Room New Year postMore Books in My Crowded Room:

This has been the year I had three novels published, finishing two trilogies in the process, along with a collection of my short stories.

Elemental Fire, the final novel of the Lakeland Witches paranormal trilogy came out early in the year.

Identity Crisis, book two of Grace Marshall’s Executive Decisions came out about the same time.

The Exhibition, the final book in the Executive Decisions trilogy came out in November.

Gracefully Aroused: The Best of K D Grace  a collection of my short stories, came out in the middle of the year.

First Drafts and Works in Progress:

medusa_bernini2013 was the year I collaborated with the fabulous Moorita Encantada on a burlesque play, Eye of the Beholder, a kinky, quirky twisting and retelling of the Greek myth of Medusa and Perseus. There’s more work to be done on that, and I’m looking forward to the rewrite and the next steps with Moorita in 2014.

With two days left in 2013, I finished the final read-through of the proofs for Fulfilling the Contract, the sequel to The Initiation of Ms Holly, which will be out in February 2014.

I’ve written two short stories I’m very excited about, that will be coming out in 2014. I’ll be crowing about those when they happen, and I’ve written numerous blog posts. I’m not even going to mention the pages of new ideas for future novels!

Did I Do Anything other than Write in 2013?

Yes! I did! I made two major trips abroad for research as well as for fun. I spent five days in Las Vegas in March, along with ten days in Oregon. Both Vegas and Oregon figure strongly into novels I’ve written and ones still to come.

I just got back from a fantastic week in Rome, where book three of The Mount series, To Rome with Lust, will be set. I came home truly inspired.

This was the year of the allotment. I spent many long hours spent digging and planting and harvesting some of the most delicious veg ever grown. My back still aches and my mouth still waters at the thought.

This was the year I temporarily gave up long walks for time spent at the gym with a personal trainer. What started out as rehab for a gimpy knee ended up to be a different kind of challenge for me and one that I’ve truly enjoyed. As for the knee – it’s very much improved and I look forward to taking on some long crow-country walks in 2014.

555019_495828133815487_910474558_nThere were lots of readings this year, several at Sh! Women’s Store, including two Reading and Poetry Slams. Sh! is always a delight.

This was the first year of Smut by the Sea, a fabulous gathering of writers and readers organized by two of my heroes, Victoria and Kev Blisse. I’m elated to say that we’ll all be returning to Scarborough for year two of Smut by the Sea in 2014! If you get a chance to attend, please do. I’d love to meet you there!

This was year two for Eroticon – held in London in 2013, and expanded to two full days this year! Once again, Ruby Kiddell organized a totally stunning event. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to lead a workshop for the event – my first ever. Thought my knees were knocking and my hands were shaking, it was a wonderful experience. I can’t recommend Eroticon enough, and in 2014 it’ll bet returning to Bristol. I hope to see you there!

The Birth of the Brit Babes:britbabes_sidebar

One of the most exciting things that happened at Eroticon this year was the birth of the Brit Babes. In 2012 at Eroticon, we put our heads together and schemed the fab Seven Deadly Sins anthology. In 2013 all that creativity became the creative force behind the Brit Babes, a group of eight British erotica authors dedicated to promoting quality and varied erotica and helping readers find just exactly the erotica that works for them. To learn more about The Brit Babes and their plans for world domination which very well could include you, please check out the Brit Babes Site

After a year’s hiatus, this was the year Erotica came back to London and Smutters organized a wonderful table selling books and promoting authors. I was very proud to be a part of the event, even for one day, and I’m still in awe of Victoria Blisse and Lucy Felthouse who organized the Smutter table and readings. You two rock!

This was the year I got nominated, along with the fabulous Kay Jaybee, for ETO’s Best Erotic Author of 2013. Kay and I went and celebrated at the event in Birmingham. We lost out to some chick named E.L. James. Can you believe it? But we still had a fantastic time catching up with old friends and making new ones. We came away winners anyway.

Writers spend so much time living in our heads, in the worlds we create and, at least for me, that forces me to live in the moment most of the time when I’m not writing. I never think much ahead of the next scene to be written, the next chapter to be finished, the next blog post to be put up. As a result, the room that is 2013 has, like the ones before it, filled up without me paying too much attention to what’s around me. And then I reach this day, this last day of the year and I look around me. I’m stunned at all P1000814that’s happened. As I think back, reflecting on the stories, the experiences, the laughter, the sharing and camaraderie, the joy of seeing my stories in print, it seems hard to imagine that I could possibly fit so much into only 365 days. And all the neurotic struggles and self-doubts and fears, well they take up such a tiny space in the room of 2013 that I wonder now why I let them take up so much of my energy.

Once again I come to the end of the year, pick up the key, and stand with heart racing, head full of ideas and plans, with hand resting on the door knob to enter that new room, the one that is bright and shiny and labeled in spangles and glitter, 2014. I am moved by all that has been, by all that is crowded into the space of one single year and by how it has changed me. And I anticipate newness, challenges, more neurotic episodes, adventures, times with friends, and writing – LOTS of writing. That’s the part I anticipate the most. How could it be otherwise?

My wish for you is that your reflections in your full room of 2013 be good ones, satisfying ones, and encouraging ones. And at the stroke of midnight, may you enter that bright empty room of 2014 with hope and joy and anticipation of how wonderfully you’ll fill it up.

 

 

Illicit Relations by Lucy Felthouse

Illicit RelationsTerry’s had a crush on his second cousin Justin for what seems like forever. He’s hidden it as well as possible, knowing that the other man is out of bounds, forbidden fruit. Second cousins getting together isn’t actually illegal, but for Justin the relationship is too close—he just can’t contemplate them being together.

But when some new information comes to light about Terry’s birth and his place in the family, the whole game changes. Suddenly the relationship isn’t so impossible, and things soon begin to get hot and heavy.

Available from:

Ellora’s Cave
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Kobobooks.com
Sony Reader Store

Add it to your Goodreads shelves: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18741652-illicit-relations

*****

Excerpt:

Terry deliberately averted his gaze as Justin tugged off his T-shirt and dove into the pool. The last thing he needed was to see him topless. His libido was already in overdrive and he was having trouble not jumping Justin’s bones. In fact, the only thing that held him back was the fact that Justin was his second cousin. They hadn’t been brought up particularly closely, so it wasn’t as if he were lusting after someone he considered to be a brother, but still. They were related and it was weird. Or it would be weird if anything happened between them, which it wouldn’t, of course. It would be wrong and they both knew it.

Terry assumed that was the reason Justin was avoiding him, anyway. They got on well and there was an obvious spark between them, but nothing inappropriate had ever taken place. For the most part, they acted as cousins should. Every now and again, though, he’d catch Justin looking at him. Equally, Terry would drink his fill of his cousin when no one else was looking. Apparently it was getting increasingly difficult for Justin, too.

Right now, at the annual summer get together at Terry’s grandparents’ massive house in rural Warwickshire, the tension between them had never been higher.

What made the whole thing ten times worse was that neither of them had come out. So ending up together would be a double whammy for their families. He could see it now. Hey, everyone! I’m gay—and so is he. We’re together. Now as you were.

He didn’t know whether the reaction would be favorable or not.

He also knew that part of his frustration about the situation was because he hadn’t yet seen any point in coming out. His feelings for Justin ran deeper than he cared to admit, and for that reason he hadn’t been in a relationship with anyone—ever. Not a homosexual relationship, anyway. He’d had girlfriends back in the days when he hadn’t realized what his urges meant, but since then he’d been by himself and remained a virgin. He was surprised, actually, that no one in his family had asked whether he was gay. He could only assume that because he was so private generally, they thought he would only introduce them to someone when he felt it was absolutely right. That was his plan, in fact. To come out and introduce his partner at the same time. But until he got over this damn infatuation with Justin, he was never going to be any farther forward.

His thoughts ran on for several minutes until he was interrupted—and startled—by droplets of cold water falling onto his bare shoulder. He turned. Justin stood there, shaking his blond head and sending the droplets flying around. Apparently he wasn’t avoiding Terry anymore.

It was hot and he was wearing casual clothes, so Terry wasn’t bothered about getting wet, but for some reason, he snapped at Justin. “For fuck’s sake, do you have to do that here?”

Immediately Justin stopped and stared at him. They’d never had a cross word between them, not even when they were children. “Sorry, mate. I was just messing around. I didn’t think it would piss you off.”

His blue eyes were wide and Terry felt his irritation dissipating rapidly. He continued to rake his gaze down Justin’s half-naked form. His broad shoulders and wide chest, which was sprinkled with a handful of pale hairs. His toned stomach, the six-pack nicely defined but not too body-builderish. His arms were thickly muscled but suited his athletic frame. Deep-blue swimming trunks hid the area he most wanted to see but he relied on the glimpses he’d had over the years and his overripe imagination.

Thick thighs and calves and, unbelievably, nice feet—he didn’t generally like feet—finished off the package of perfection and Terry was suddenly extremely glad he had a book in his lap, because his cock was beginning to swell and press against the inside of his swimming shorts. He realized that a dip in the pool would be a pretty good antidote—the chilly water should take the heat from his cock. And if not, at least no one would be able to see the bulge unless they swam underwater.

It was stupid, really, trying to hide his erection from Justin. They both knew there was something between them, and he wanted to bury his hard cock inside Justin’s mouth or arse, not hide it beneath a fucking book.

He began to wonder whether they should just get together, and to hell with the consequences. It wasn’t illegal.

Justin sat down on the sun bed next to Terry and flashed him a smile. “Am I forgiven, then? I haven’t got your book wet, have I?” He reached out to grab the book, presumably to try to dry it, but Terry slammed his hand down quickly, catching Justin’s fingers beneath his in the process, not to mention giving his cock a bit of a smack.

“No,” he ground out, wondering how he’d managed to get even a single word to fall from his lips. As soon as their fingers had touched he’d felt a spark that had run straight up his arm and multiplied throughout his entire body. His ebbing erection had immediately jumped back to attention, lifting the book slightly. He hoped against all hope that Justin hadn’t noticed but he had no such luck.

The blond’s gaze dropped to their still-touching fingers and, presumably, to the book and the thing beneath it that had caused the movement. He stared for a few seconds that felt like hours, then looked back up at Terry’s face. He opened his mouth then closed it again. For the first time ever, it seemed Justin was speechless.

A huge splash and a series of laughs from the pool broke the spell between them. Justin snatched his hand back and raked it through his hair. He opened and closed his mouth again, but for the second time nothing came out. He let out a heavy sigh and stood up looking dazed. He appeared to have trouble putting one foot in front of the other, as though he were drunk or had just woken from a very deep sleep. Of course, only the two of them knew the real reason for Justin’s behavior.

Finally Justin got his limbs to cooperate, and he made his way across to the table that held food and drinks, sheltered from the bright sunlight by a large, green gazebo.

Terry watched him go, a tumult of emotions running through his brain. Disappointment, confusion, anger, lust…they all assaulted him, though admittedly the last was screaming the loudest, a fact certainly not helped by Justin’s damp and topless state.

Now a feeling of despair took hold of him. What the fuck was he going to do?

*****

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over eighty publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

 

Tamsin Flowers Talks about The Crimson Bond

Hi,Studio shot

I hope you’ve all survived Christmas without sinking in a sea of brandy butter or being overwhelmed by a… what is the collective noun for a Brussels sprout? And I particularly hope that Santa brought you everything you wanted – world peace, goodwill among all men and a brand new e-reader that you can fill up with smut!

And, coincidentally, talking of which, I’ve brought a short excerpt from my latest release, The Crimson Bond. It’s a sizzling, red-hot vampire tale, an eternal triangle of love, lust and passion between three wayward vampires who can’t get enough of each other… In other words, just the ticket if you’ve had enough of seasonal cheer, turkey and pantomimes!

Enjoy!

Tamsin

xxxx

PS And thanks for having me, KD!

Blurb

Willow Jackson develops an unhealthy obsession Etienne Corbeau; little does she realise he’s a suave, sophisticated vampire.  After appearing in her dreams, Willow is astounded to find Etienne in her room for real and even more shocked when, in the throes of a passion she can’t resist, he sinks his teeth into her neck and drinks her blood.

But Etienne is greedy and to save Willow’s life, his wife Elouise forces her to drink vampire blood.  From this moment Willow is herself a vampire, forming an unbreakable bond with Elouise which forces her to choose between the beautiful new vampire and her husband of two centuries.

As Willow learns to tame her bloodlust and vampire sex carries her to new heights of physical pleasure, Elouise is snatched away from her.  The battle lines are drawn: now she and Etienne will fight for possession of the woman they both love…

Excerpt

“Don’t be angry with me, Willow,” he said. “Your effect on me is so strong I can’t control myself when you’re around.”

That much was true and it was a feeling Willow had come to understand.

“Even now? Now I’m a vampire like you?”

Etienne brushed a hand down her jaw with unexpected tenderness.

“More now, Willow.”

His body was close to hers and as he looked down at her face his warm breath tickled her cheeks. She breathed in deeply to catch the scent of him and it didn’t disappoint. Low in her gut, muscles tightened and a shiver ran through her.

“Your bond with Elouise doesn’t stop you…” Her voice was ragged and she didn’t know how to finish what she intended to say.

“A vampire’s bond is mental, rather than physical.” His voice was low, practically a whisper.

She felt his hand on her breast, warm through the thin cotton of her T-shirt. Her knees turned to water and as she slumped against him, he lowered her gently to the ground. She was weak with lust, so overpowering she could hardly breath. But it was different from the bloodlust she felt when she was close to the girls on the ranch. This feeling, burning in her loins and spreading through her body, was a pure, sexual need—the full expression of the mere glimmers she’d experienced when she was still human and she’d lusted after him from afar.

“Etienne…”

They were both kneeling, facing each other. He pulled at the bottom of her T-shirt and she obligingly lifted her arms as he pulled it up over her head. His every touch felt like a burn on her skin but it was a sensation she couldn’t get enough of. As soon as her arms were free of the shirt, she tore at his, not caring as the buttons flew off and landed in the long grass.

She pressed her body against his, her softness against the firm, rough surface of his chest. She gasped and once again their mouths locked together. He tasted sweet and she felt a compulsion to make herself one with him, her tongue thrusting deep as her body pressed harder still against the length of his. His hands raked through her hair and drew her head back, angling her mouth all the better against his. Then she felt a hand dropping down her back and sliding under the waistband of her jeans. The sensation of his firm hand sliding down her cheek, one finger straying along the crack between her buttocks, elicited a low groan, deep in her throat, and she raked her nails down his back.

With a cry that might have been pain or pleasure or both, Etienne pushed her roughly back onto the grass. His hands scrabbled desperately at the fastening of her jeans and, seconds, later he ripped them down her thighs, scraping them over her knees and off. He buried his face between her legs, taking deep, rasping breaths of her scent, and then she felt his fingers prying their way into her willing sex. Her lips slipped open with a rush of hot juice and Etienne grunted as first his fingers explored her deeply and then his tongue found its way inside her.

Willow writhed beneath his touch but fought the sensations threatening to sweep her away. She longed to feel all of him insider her, so she reached down to his shoulders to pull him up.

He shook off her grasp and lifted his head to look at her.

“You can have both,” he whispered, his fingers still drumming a magical rhythm deep inside her.

“I want everything,” she said, returning his gaze.

“It’s all yours.”

Buy links

You’ll find The Crimson Bond at Secret Cravings, Amazon US, Amazon UK, All Romance and Smashwords.

Tamsin Flowers

Tamsin Flowers 27 DecTamsin Flowers loves to write light-hearted erotica, often with a twist in the tail/tale and a sense of fun.  In the words of one reviewer, ‘Ms Flowers has a way of describing sexual tension that forces itself upon your own body.’ Her stories have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies , for publishers including Cleis Press, Xcite Books and Go Deeper Press. She has now graduated to novellas with the intention of penning her magnum opus in the very near future.  In the meantime, like most erotica writers, she finds herself working on at least ten stories at once: while she figures out whose leg belongs in which story, you can find out more about her at Tamsin’s Superotica or Tamsin Flowers.

 

 

Ancient Ruins and Christmas Lights

P1000814Monday night we returned in the middle of the storm from a week of sunshine and exploring and reminiscing in Rome. It was a fabulous week of pasta and tiramisu, espresso and wine and Roman ruins mixed liberally with the wild hubbub of Christmas preparation. There were leisurely hours of reading simply for pleasure in quiet café’s – something I’ve not had much time for recently, there were long walks beneath the rainbow wave of Christmas lights along the Via Del Corso. There were quick stops into bars in the middle of the afternoon for espresso. There were walks in the Palatine and outings to Tivoli and to Ostia Antica. And there were wonderful memories.

Raymond and I are quite familiar with Rome in the winter. We married in mid-December and spent P1000885part of our honeymoon in Rome and Italy. The place is full of good memories for us. It’s always magical and romantic and irresistibly sexy. It will also be the setting for the third Holly novel, so this was a chance to soak up atmosphere and do a little research.

It’s been eight years since the last time we were in the Eternal City, and we both agree that’s way too long in between trips. Even though there have been plenty of changes over eight years, it still felt like coming home. There were more excavations in the Forum and the Palatine area. Above the Forum there was a different band dressed in Santa Clause suites playing Jingle Bells endlessly in that uncommon alto sax and accordion combo. The pasta and pizza at every little trattoria  was delish, there were too many pastries to sample in three lifetimes, let alone one week, and the rule about not making eye-contact with the drivers during that heart-stopping moment when you P1000918step into the traffic at the crosswalk still applies.

In the Forum, we spent quality time in the ruins of the House of the Vestal Virgin, with its climbing pink roses and with its thin skin of ice on top of the reflecting pools. We were early enough to miss the worst of the crowds.

In the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, we walked among the fountains and plotted wonderfully sexy stories about love run amok in a Renaissance garden. The place was, in no small part, an inspiration for my novella, Surrogates.

We arrived early in the ruins of Ostia Antica and stayed until the whistle blew at the end of the day and we were chased out. I could have lingered for hours in the ruins of the temples from the Roman Republic, the temple of Hercules, and the Domus of Psyche and Eros.

It’s not difficult to understand why Rome is called The Eternal City. It’s not difficult to get caught up in the layer cake of modern and ancient and the manic honk of car horns and the shove and push of Christmas shoppers.

Our flight home was delayed by the heavy wind storms that have plagued the UK the past couple of days. We sat in the lounge at Fiumicino Airport drinking coffee, then wine and reading for pleasure, not really worrying too much. When the window of opportunity presented itself, we left the sunshine for the windy wet British shores. Ours was one of the last planes to land as the storm closed in again, leaving us sitting on the tarmac for an hour and a half waiting for a stand. But we made it home, with little prep made for Christmas – though we never have stood on tradition where Christmas is concerned. Ours will be the hodge-podge of our own non-traditional Christmas treats along with the memories of our first Christmas together when we were only just married, living in a cold flat in Croatia, decorating our tiny tree with chocolate ornaments and watching the cornbread for our turkey dressing bake in the oven. True, we had no television, but even more important, the kitchen, in front of the oven, was the warmest place in the house.

Ah, but I digress! The thing is, we celebrated then and we celebrate now. We celebrate not Christmas per se, but all things that are good in our life, and all things that this year’s brought, all things that our life together has brought. We celebrated in Rome, we celebrated in Croatia and we celebrate now in soggy, windy England while we catch up on our laundry and prepare to cook our Christmas favourites.  And we wish all of you many, MANY wonderful reasons to celebrate during this holiday season and many more in the year to come.

 

Random Acts of Trust by Julia Kent

Random Acts of TrustFrom New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent comes the newest book in the Random series…

Giving up is hard…but giving in is even harder.

When did my life become a demented episode from The Mindy Project?

Moving to Boston to begin grad school meant I was supposed to start a new life — not dig through a past I thought I’d left behind four years ago. But when I saw the poster for Random Acts of Crazy, all I could think about was the drummer, Sam Hinton, the boy I’d loved in high school and who disappeared with my heart.

Who knew I’d become the living version of Magic Mike?

Seeing Amy Smithson at my gig and watching her win a kiss from my bandmate, Liam, was a gut punch. Four years ago we squared off in a high school debate that had higher stakes than we ever imagined, and here I was…wanting what I’d walked away from. Are there too many secrets between us to allow her to trust me again?

And can I trust myself?

The second book in the Random series after the wildly successful New York Times and USA Today bestseller Random Acts of Crazy, Random Acts of Trust is a New Adult romantic comedy that explores the love between one man, one woman, and ends with one Happily Ever After (and no cliffhangers or chickens!). Fate took their lives by storm four years ago and put an unbreachable gulf between Sam and Amy. This 87,000 word/346 printed page book asks: Can time really heal all wounds…or are some scars too deep?

Available from:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Kobobooks.com
Smashwords
Bookstrand
All Romance eBooks

*****

Bio:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent turned to writing contemporary romance after deciding that life is too short not to have fun. She writes romantic comedy with an edge, and new adult books that push contemporary boundaries. From billionaires to BBWs to rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every book she writes, but unlike Trevor from Random Acts of Crazy, she has never kissed a chicken.

She loves to hear from her readers by email at jkentauthor@gmail.com, on Twitter @jkentauthor, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jkentauthor . Visit my blog at http://jkentauthor.blogspot.com

 
© 2018 K D Grace
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